19 December 2022

The first Hanukkah candle was lit in Chisinau

Hundreds of people gathered at the Jewish Community Center “KEDEM” yesterday for the first day of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is a much-loved holiday in the Jewish calendar. Two thousand years ago when Yehuda Maccabees’ soldiers desecrated the Temple, the fire in the Menorah miraculously continued to burn non-stop for eight days. Despite the fact that the oil was supposed to last only one day. Ever since then, to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah, Jews around the world have gathered together on Kislev 25. Forever remembered as the Festival of Light, we light eight candles for each of the eight days that the candle kept alight two thousand years ago and reflect on the love and resilience of our people, our customs and our communities. 

Upon lighting the first candle on the Eugen Doga pedestrian street outside the community center, the President of JCM, Alexander Bilinkis told the guests: 

“Our people have gone through many challenges.  No matter what happened, we lit Hanukkah candles, thanked the Almighty, and rejoiced at the victory of light over darkness. Today, the light of Hanukkah is especially symbolic: the flickering of candles dispels the darkness around us and reminds us of our commitment to Tikkun Olum.   Remembering the miracle when we light the candles reminds us of the mitzvah of helping our neighbors and those less fortunate than us.”

Among those who attended the event were ambassadors and representatives from embassies of the United Kingdom, USA, Romania, France, Poland, Sweden and other countries. The ambassadors of the EU Mission to Moldova, HE Janis Mazeiks, and the USA, HE Kent Logsdon, also recorded a message for the Moldovan Jewish community from the Jewish Community Center’s synagogue. In the message, the ambassadors drew on the history of Hanukkah to pay tribute to the revival of Jewish community in Moldova.

The Jewish Community of the Republic of Moldova (JCM), together with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Haverim, Volunteer Center RVC, The Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, J-FUTURE and JUNIOR prepared a special festive program in which guests could take part in creative workshops, master classes and learn about the significance of the Hanukkah holiday and its history.

At the KEDEM complex, guests were treated to traditional sufganiyah (traditional Hanukkah doughnuts) washed down with hot mulled wine to warm up guests on a chilly Sunday afternoon. 

Candle lighting and festivities will take place in different parts of the country for the next 8 days, from December 18-25, with the support of the Jewish Community of Moldova and partners.